Fall’s almost here and school has already begun in several locations across the USA. With the advent of the new school year, the fall television premieres are coming up. NBC has already premiered some of their shows in an attempt to capture new viewers from all their Olympics coverage. That strategy may or may not pay off – it’s been a long time since NBC had a solid slate of television shows, but not many companies have had two smash hit series running at the same time (Friends and Seinfeld come immediately to mind), much less a single smash hit.
The 2011-2 season had some promising series that met untimely ends (you will be missed, Terra Nova). In any case, here’s ten television shows for the upcoming 2012-3 fall television season that I’m anticipating the most:
10. 666 Park Avenue (ABC) – September 30
666 Park Avenue appears to be a takeoff of Stephen King’s Needful Things. It’s essentially a Manhattan building complex imbued with demonic powers that grant wishes. The downsides are to be found out later on. This television series is based on a novel by the same name penned by Gabriella Pierce published in 2011. I’ve never heard of Pierce or the series of books she’s authored, but apparently other reviewers have compared the series to an upper-class Vampire Diaries. As long as there are no vampires, it sounds intriguing to me. I’ll give the series a three episode trial before I decide its fate on my DVR.
9. 2 Broke Girls (CBS) – September 24
Two Broke Girls made its debut in 2011 and Kat Dennings (the brunette in the image above) has finally made her mark on the general consciousness. Prior to Two Broke Girls, she was best known for her starring role in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Her best assets besides the obvious are her wisecracks and general snarkiness. The interplay between Dennings and Beth Behrs (the blonde above) is simply delicious and well worth the time you spend watching episodes of Two Broke Girls. The first season progressed well enough, but I can’t wait to see further development of the relationship between the two and the rest of the cast in season two.
8. How I Met Your Mother (CBS) – September 24 Returning for its eighth season, How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) is still going strong. Season seven began and ended with a cliffhanger – Barney’s getting married. We’ll find out who his bride is when HIMYM returns. I can’t wait to see who it ends up being. My wife and I have watched every episode of the first seven seasons faithfully, hoping for the show to finally drop some actual footage of the still-mysterious ‘wife’ that Ted Mosby ends up marrying. Despite being formulaic in theory, HIMYM never stops being entertaining, no matter if it’s the first or eleventh time you’re watching a particular episode. Yes, some episodes are stronger than others, but I honestly can’t recall a clunker of an episode that I wouldn’t rewatch at least once.
7. The Mentalist (CBS) – September 30 The fifth season of Patrick Jane continuing his search for the serial killer, Red John. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the creator of The Mentalist strongly hinted that Red John wouldn’t be revealed this upcoming season, but that the series would start to get darker. You can delve into the interview yourself and draw some completely different conclusions regarding the series as somebody else did, including myself. Even without an immediate payoff on the horizon, I’ll keep on watching The Mentalist as long as its episodic quality continues to maintain a quality standard.
6. Revolution (NBC) – September 17
Produced by J.J. Abrams (Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe, Person of Interest), this series is already promising just by having Abrams onboard. Debuting on September 17, Revolution takes place in a post-apocalyptic future after a mysterious event 15 years ago disabled all advanced technology on the planet. The premise is intriguing, especially to a fan of post-apocalyptic stories such as myself. If you’re interested in a realistic take on such a future, there’s a television series that airs on the Discovery Channel, The Colony. This series should take on the other half of the equation, the fictional take. I can’t wait to see if it ends up being as well done as I hope it will be.
5. Revenge (ABC) – September 30
Appearing as a tour de force on the television scene in 2011, Revenge has made stars out of Madeline Stowe and Emily VanCamp. While some episodes in the first season were weak, the overall overarching story arc has been brilliantly done. Revenge has been called a modern-day Count of Monte Cristo, but that may be selling Revenge a bit short. The first season literally ended with a bang as a cliffhanger for the second season. I can only see Revenge lasting a couple more seasons, before resolving its original quandary. Then I can certainly see the series moving on with new quandaries. Unless a money grab by the producers is involved, of course.
4. Modern Family (ABC) – September 26
The colossus of current television comedy, Modern Family has comfortably worn the title of best current comedy for three seasons now. And to think that when it was first announced, people thought that its proposed ‘mockumentary’ format wouldn’t be successful. Cue smash hit. And of course, the best thing it did was recast Ed O’Neill onto a television comedy. Married With Children…. is a classic. If you love the idea of situational comedy involving a dysfunctional family, Modern Family is your ticket.
3. Switched At Birth (ABC Family) – September 3
The first show to premiere its fall episodes of my list – Switched At Birth is also the only show I’ve been waiting for to air on ABC Family. The other show I’d wait to watch has already returned – Melissa and Joey, which any fan of Blossom or Sabrina, The Teenage Witch should already be viewing on a regular basis. Tangential commentary aside, Switched At Birth is an amalgam of several different topics, and fuses them all together to make a wonderfully spirited television show. It’s essentially a teenage family drama in the vein of Step by Step, Full House, and Family Matters. The twist it offers is that two girls were ‘switched at birth’ and didn’t grow up with their actual relatives. When this was found out, the two families come together as one.
That’s not the only kicker – one of the girls is deaf and the other is hearing. So it also provides insight into the deaf community and the interplay between deaf and hearing people. This is actually the ongoing part of the first season (32 episodes in total) – in which the remaining ten episodes are set to air this fall. The show has already been renewed for a second season to begin airing in Winter 2013 with 20 episodes ordered as of now.
American Sign Language features prominently in this television series – and it isn’t always done fluently – there’s also prominent subtitles and I’ve discovered that when the deaf main characters are the focus of the scene, the sound has been edited to reflect what it’s like to be a deaf person (there’s still some sound – but not like normal television). I cannot verify this for myself, but that goes to display the depth and detail that the cast and crew are putting into this product. Definitely watch the first few episodes to catch up on the series if you’re interested.
2. The Good Wife (CBS) – September 30
The Good Wife has matured as a series, and it’s essentially hitting the sweet spot of its run as it enters the fourth season. We’re about to meet Kalinda’s husband – the cliffhanger that season three left us with. Part of why The Good Wife has been so successful has been its realistic handling of its subject matter. Relationship dynamics, topics that aren’t given short shrift, and addressing issues that nobody wants to bring up are just a few of the things that The Good Wife does brilliantly. It doesn’t hurt that Julianna Marguiles (E.R.) has been brilliant, not to mention Josh Charles (Sports Night), Matt Czuchry (Gilmore Girls), Archie Panjabi (the older sister getting married in Bend it Like Beckham), and Peter Noth (Sex and the City – Mr.Big 4Eva!). Great material and a wonderful cast, that’s a winning recipe for anything.
1. American Horror Show (FX) – October 17
But the show that I absolutely cannot wait to see is American Horror Story‘s second season, entitled ‘Asylum’. What makes this upcoming season even better is that American Horror Story (AHS) is essentially following a longstanding comics tradition of miniseries – treating each season as a story arc in themselves. The first season is its own self-contained world. The second season will begin anew. The kicker – Jessica Lange returns! Most of the first season’s cast had only signed on for one season, not planning to reprise their roles. But by adopting a miniseries viewpoint, the writers were able to entice Evan Peters and Jessica Lange to return. Landing Lange was essentially a coup – most of the fans of the first season loved Lange, and I can’t wait to see what twisted directions this new ‘Asylum’ story will go into.